Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category


“Cancelled: Jackie Kay and Zaffar Kunial”. Their appearance at the Brighton Festival I assume – not them. I saw Jackie Kay a few years back at The Festival and thoroughly enjoyed her calm, sorted, humorous and informed story. I was looking forward to hearing from her again. But not this time. As a gesture of goodwill we were offered up to 4 complimentary tickets to “Songs for the end of the world”. A good customer relations move.

My friend suggested we check out The Warren. A selection of bars placed sensitively next to St. Peter’s Church on the London Road. Alcohol, fringe shows and salvation within yards of each other. I thought why not. Let’s be young, free, wild and reckless. It was like being in a mini festival and because the area is walled off you don’t see the outside world. Or the traffic and taxis and buses that haunt the London Road at 7.30p.m. The seats and benches are surrounded by an array of mini theatre and show venues. A few burger stalls and a few stalls selling bags. In addition, a couple of bars. The tables were all a splutter with what felt like reams of flyers, mainly about the same few shows. And a couple of times we were calmly accosted by jovial, happy people sharing more flyers about award winning shows. It was a good environment to sit and chat and linger. Might be manic on a Friday or Saturday night. Nevertheless, an enjoyable space. What happens to these endless extra flyers? I remember coming out of nightclubs in my youth and taking, ditching and walking over endless flyers about some event, somewhere at some time. Of course you kept the flyers that gave free entry next week. There was a talk – I think after a show – about refugees and the camp at Calais. I often wonder about these things. Is it the right place? It’s raising awareness I believe. On the other hand, does it just help to wrestle from me a few moments of concern and philanthropy for those less fortunate than me. Before I get my Burger, Beer, ticket and a show.

There is something interesting about “London by the sea”. I hear about it being so diverse and open and welcoming. Brighton enveloped itself in a pro Europe stance. I agree with a friend’s assessment – it is not a diverse city but a cosmopolitan one. Because whenever I attend many events in this city I notice the lack of colour diversity. When I sit and people watch over my fry up on Blatchington Road I see this colour mix. But not here.  Why?


Sometimes I touched the handles of doors to public toilets and find them wet. Dry your hands you lazy……… On the other hand, I observe guys leaving and not washing their hands – don’t shake my hand. I think I may develop one of those behaviours where I only touch the handles with disposable gloves I carry for such an occasion.

It’s not paranoia but clear observation of the facts.

1- The CIA have been using Samsung T.V.’s to spy on us in our living rooms – even when they are turned off they can still hear our conversations.

2- Revelations continue about trump, Russian cyber invasions and now North Korea is included. They are believed to be behind the recent attacks on the NHS computer system.

3- Barack Obama announces a visit to Edinburgh.

4- I post on Facebook and twitter my apologies that I won’t be there- didn’t want him waiting at Cafe Nero on Princess Street for me.

5- All my data from my hard drive disappears. Files on my cloud storage are mysteriously deleted.

6- I am keeping an eye on the friendly new neighbours downstairs.

I’m selling my Samsung TV and phone. I may have to go underground until this all dies down. Moreover, I thought I would be safe living in Portslade.

A friend has just told me they received a letter from their children’s’ school asking for ten pounds this school year. And twenty-five pounds next school year towards school costs. They don’t agree. I don’t either. It’s for the running of the school. Not for any extra trips or events. Schools in Brighton and Hove face cuts. Equivalent to £193,425 pounds per school. Or £487 per pupil ( What a state we are in and some people don’t notice. Especially when they do not use the facility. Schools, The NHS or care services. In a year’s time the letter will ask for fifty pounds and then…….

A very successful morning sorting out problems with my cloud storage, tidying paperwork, checking my to do list, packing my bag for tomorrow and overall being wonderful.  After the longgg hike up the hill of Elm Grove I pulled into The Flour Pot Bakery. An artisan haven in Hanover.  A delicious coffee and chocolate and orange cookie. A chance to start typing this, refresh and prepare for dance. Still don’t understand certain things in life. As I sit with my coffee a young guy runs past in a blue dressing gown and flip flops to pop into the local shop. Some things aren’t right. I can imagine how my mum would rate that. Anyway – dance!


In 2016 I was invited to take part in the South East Dance programme – Dance Ambassadors programme ( An opportunity for non-dance people such as me to experience dance. I was invited to see the Belgian dance artist Vera Tussing at the intimate Dance Studio. I am always happy when I attend something and haven’t read the background. All I saw was dance and thought “o.k.”

This was a magical, stimulating and thought provoking afternoon with Vera and Esse as we explored with them a work in progress. There were about ten of us in the audience. Intimate. Connected and in the moment. It is such an honour to be allowed into the thought processes of artists. And especially when they are playing with and developing ideas.

Vera and Esse are Dance Artists from Belgium. This was their first time in Brighton. They have performed across Europe and usually London. Their work has moved through stages in their exploration of their dance – sight and now the physical. Safely wrapped in the imagination of dance and expression I was able to exclude the dreary May rain. I was entranced from the beginning. They showed us four pieces and each time we were able to be inside their thoughts. In addition, share our reflections that could help them think about how to grow the work. They move in “duoglide” ceaseless and creaseless harmony. It is wonderful to watch two women who are so in tune with each other and for whom touch and movement together is energy. We were given permission from the start to be part of this process. To speak, to take part in a dance, to change our angle and move to other parts of the studio. We had ownership of the space and this participation is integral to their work. The audience is done with not done to. They helped make this dance experience accessible to me on a physical and emotional level. Even bringing us all into parts of the dance -touching fingertip to fingertip with the dancers. I enjoyed collaborating with other audience members to narrate their movements in one piece. Some of their work is shown to audience members who are blind and use their vast array of other senses and methods to feel the dance. Touches such as braille notes designed by various artists increase participation and understanding. Contemporary dance of this calibre offers so many opportunities to break barriers and create avenues. Watching two women dance together without the male lead raises questions. How often do you see women dance without men leading? The women are the flexible feminine input. While the men are the “strong anchor”. Or so we are taught to accept.

Movement like this reflects and challenges some of the “isms” of Society. This graceful, strong, solid, confident pair reword some of that language. I experience this as “movement” and more than “dance”.


Dance for me was always jumping up and down to the latest or oldest disco classic. This experience allowed me to break down my barriers about dance being “arty farty” and immerse myself in movement. And in process. To imagine what this movement means to me. Even calling the experience “movement” allows me to feel more in it.And how others might experience it. And to be part of the endless flow to influence creativity. The dance they are creating will be shown around Europe and I hope one day in Brighton. If not maybe we will get another chance to reflect on their work. I sit in my cafe writing with renewed inspiration, colours, and the flow of movement around me and a slice of carrot cake. Stillness and harmony.


In the global safety of Cafe Nero five French teenagers sit and chat gently. Across from them there are two guys. One older, one younger sat together and reading their books. At once close but not separated. The future, the present and the past.



MAY 2017

Clapham Common, South London was once my daily destination. From 1970 to 1975 the 37 bus carried me from Battersea to The Pavement. And a few hundred yards away was Henry Thornton Comprehensive School. I believe it’s where I am supposed to have spent the best years of my life. As I come up from the underground station I know things have changed. Clapham and Balham and Brixton are young, white trendy enclaves. I can’t find a black hairdresser to get my hair cream. There is a “Little Waitrose”. Byron burgers. A Strada Cafe. A wave of trendy places to eat. A WH Smith. In addition, reassuringly a KFC and the essential McDonald’s. It is at once strange and fun to be here. A place I frequented as a teenager. I recognise the streets but not the people or the atmosphere.

I returned to Clapham Common for a Polish Writers event. It was part of the Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival 2017 at Mary Seacole Centre, Clapham Library. The event was organised by “Poles Connect”. They are funded by Lambeth Council and the Polish Embassy. This is a grassroots project where over 20 Polish speaking local residents come together to run community events. I read that the event will highlight Polish hand crafted folk art and workshops. A tour of Modern Polish literature. And a panel discussion. This is a great way to highlight the diversity, culture and contribution of the Polish community.

The U.K. has a very long history and life with Poland. Much, much more. Moreover, much longer than migration from the E.U. Since the Second World War and before. Hammersmith and Lambeth have well established Polish communities. There is more to Polish people than working in the NHS, Hotels or the building trade. There is much more to be being Polish than the war and the Holocaust. The Polish spirit has endured and flourished through many hardships of war and occupation. I love events like this. They give a chance to taste and view people from so many angles.


Solzhenitsyn or Chekov are Russian authors I have heard about many times. Now I know much more about and am reading Polish authors. I am not an expert just more informed. We were treated to readings from a range of authors. Writers for children and adults. The “short tour of Modern Polish Literature in Translation by Antonia Lloyd-Jones” was exquisite. I was taken from the beach where I played in the sand of not knowing. Through the surf by readings from Jack Dehnel. Lifted by the waves of Wiesław Myśliwski, who writes the first line of the book and then follows where it leads. No set plot, characters etc. His books sound like a labour of love, confidence and intuition. No return, just keep swimming. Olga Tokarczuk’s moving story of returning Chopin’s sister returning his heart to Warsaw. Diving deeper with the detective trilogy by Zygmunt Miłoszewski – Rage. An exert from the children’s writer Krystyna Boglar – Clementine Loves Red. When I surfaced I had to buy a book. Well two. Actually three. Having someone choose exerts and read them with such poise, ease and intonation is a splendid way to get the flavours of different writing.

I immediately started my book Kolyma Diaries. Hugo-Bader is my kind of writer. Reportage is a Polish school of writing. – where he travels to areas and speaks to and spends time with people to hear their stories. From an interesting position we are told about their experiences and lives. A citizen of the “second world” – Eastern Europe. He travelled extensively to “the Third world” to write about his experiences.

The panel discussion just added more fuel to the fire of my Polish literature knowledge.

Now safely ensconced on my coffee table are my fresh, new books:-

1- Stone upon stone – Wiesław Myśliwski. (isbn 9780982624623)

2- Kolyma Diaries – Jacek Hugo-Bader – (isbn 978184627502-9)

3- Chernobyl –The zone–Natacha Bustos and Francisco Sanchez. A graphic novel – (978-0-9933951-1-6)

Have to worry about excusing my dancing

Have to worry about being crushed when I am seated on the bus or train. People always find other seats.

Look cool in suits.

Work twice as hard as my white equivalent to stand still in my career.

Know that trump is undoing anything to do with Obama just because Obama is a strong, black man.

Know that you are v racist-it’s an instinctual thing.

“Know who I am and where I am going.l
A bomb explodes and you are outraged etc. and blame those Muslims. Your outflowing of racism is loud-for a few days. It is not the bombing that made you racist. You always were. The bombing gave you an excuse and opportunity to say your stuff. The bombs are the excuse for your explosion.
A guy sat next to me on the train. I didn’t squeeze up just to let him take over my space. Then I noticed the paper he was reading. The telegraph! The business section! I won’t let him be comfortable next to me with his tory graph attitude. Anyway I kept reading my article about the closure of the immigrant camp at Calais.  It’s a terrible life they have. The prejudice.  Just because of one thing people pick on. Disliking someone they don’t even know for a small petty reason.



THEY/ONLAR has its British premier at the 2017 Brighton Festival until May 29th. Shown in the gothic, atmospheric and cool environment of Fabrica. A deconsecrated church in the centre of Brighton. This multi-screen video work so suits this venue. As you walk down the models’ runway like entrance you are warned about the lack of light and the time needed for your eyes to adjust. An enthusiastic and welcoming volunteer gives me a briefing and we’re off! There is the noise of voices that from the outside makes me think that the place was busy. It is the chatter of voices from the interviewees that artist, Ipek Duben had collected across Turkey. There are life size screens showing films of the six people speaking about their experiences of being “other” in Turkish society. Spoken in English to stop us being “other”. 
Turkey is presented in the news as the “other”. A bomb killing dozens in Ankara does not warrant the same news or social media response as one in Paris. The April referendum with its substantial changes to the Turkish constitution has raised fears about an end to secularism. In addition, about Turkey’s relationship with Russia, The EU and Nato.Turkey with its population of over 78 million people is three times the size of the U.K. and has a history of empire, achievement and pain to share too. The Ottoman Empire and links to Persia all create a rich tapestry of culture.

I arrive knowing only that there is an exhibition here and that’s how I like it. All I know is the name – They/Onlar. My mind made up to view what unfolded and nothing else. My senses shaken – initially no light, all dark with the intermittent light from the films playing on the screen. No crowds as the noise of voices had previewed. I sit to listen to a woman’s story of abuse, violence, bravery, perseverance and success. A wonderful story of overcoming a very violent and abusive husband and showing her children there is another way. This begins as a sight and sound event. And as the magic carpet unrolls my heart, mind and soul awaken.

‘Other” is a ginormous thing around the world. Now, more than ever maybe. Even in Brighton, this supposedly liberal, anti-Brexit, pro-gay haven. I experience and see other. Do you notice the large number of homeless people on the streets of “London by the sea”? How many faces of the same colour do you see? Therefore, these stories resonate on every level. My own experience of being other because of my gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age etc. etc. There are many examples of other to taste here from marital status, being a lesbian or being from a different ethnic group. Moreover, what is important is that this otherness is multi faceted. You are other for one, two or many different reasons. And you can be different in different places. A powerful thing one woman said stays with me. There are conditions of behaviour for women – covering their head for instance. However, no such infringements on men – all their lives.

I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing the names of the speakers. Invisibility? Often those that are other are called-they or them or those. Not by their chosen name.
Another way to exhibit this installation could be with each speaker and their film played in separate cubicles. No outside distractions. Privacy. Intimacy. In secret. Just you and them and their story. In some ways in hiding. This is how some of the speakers had lived parts of their lives.
“The unexamined life is not worth living”

There is a little rush of visitors – students. More other. Some standing around chatting. Why? The spirit of this exhibition for me is to listen. To the voices of others. And your own. To watch their eyes, expressions and body movements.

To enjoy their clothes. Their smiles. And resonate with their pains. Then there is the unending strength of the human spirit that means these powerful individuals live to tell their story. However, put themselves at risk when others hear their story. On the other hand, was that my assumptions playing because the students could have been charged with conversation by the experience?

In a way having all these people about – walking around. Talking. They are a distraction from being in the moment with these stories. On another that is how “other” plays out in real life. As I sit in this cafe writing, other is all around. In addition, when I am home – alone – I am not the other. I am the one.

If you don’t have a home – you are my other. Or?

If you have a mansion and a pool, am I the other? Or?

To repeat a Socrates quote from one of the interviewees. Her favourite. “The unexamined life is not worth living”. To examine is a constant act of reflection. At different times, places and experiences. In addition, sometimes contradicting views and conclusions but with a willingness to change. To accept yourself and others as they stand. 

They/Onlar feels like the sort of exhibition to visit and revisit. To hear all the stories. To hear them again and again in order to see what new things explode. This for me is more documentary and observation than art.
                             They=HUMAN.  They=ME.  They=US.

They/Onlar by Ipek Duben. Open 12-7 p.m. daily. 2-5 p.m. Sundays and Bank Holidays.

 Until 29th May at Fabrica, 40 Duke Street, Brighton, BN1 1AG

Facebook –  @fabriagallery      @brightonfestival

Twitter –   #TheyOnlar     #brightonfestival   #IpekDuben



Everyone knows what trump stands for. Many of those core things won’t and can’t change. Because of his age, ego, the people who surround him, the circles he has and will move in, his position and his white male entitlement.

If you don’t know what he plans to do and how it will affect different communities for the good and the bad. The positive or negative affects. Then you’re in shock, dreaming and or in denial. All natural states of being. BUT IT’S TIME TO GET WITH THE PROGRAMME. Not his programme. WRITE YOUR OWN.


Extra searches of myself and my bags initially start this feeling of anger and frustration within me. It’s because I am……  Are they searching others? I don’t think so! Maybe they are? Maybe it’s just a search? Maybe all this extra security keeps us ALL safe? Maybe it’s just a search and if you let any negative thoughts go then you can ride the wave and see something different.


I noticed on my flights the mixed ages of all the stewards/esses. Some seemed 60 plus. Great. That shows real diversity in action. A range of people bringing so much to the job, the passengers and the company. Able, competent and contributing across society.


Convicted felons can’t vote here in the USA but that differs across various States. Is it right they can’t vote – yes or no?  If I serve my sentence doesn’t that mean that I have paid my debt to society. So I then try and build my life again. When will society forgive and forget? And let me in again. Is there an investment in keeping me outside of society?  Unable to vote. Maybe on the edge so I commit crime again. Especially when you notice the ethnicity of most of the prison population. And who they tend to favour vote wise.

On the other side of this was the beauty of the young woman we met who had just voted. Her first time of voting. It should be a BIG  thing in our society. She was happy, pleased and calmly excited. It got me thinking about my first time voting.


If you were Canadian would you want all these Americans jumping ship and coming to your country. What are their real values, views, beliefs and commitment that allow them to leave so quickly. Will they jump again when a President they like arrives. What about the friends and family they are leaving behind?

When the next President holds an event at the White House, which singers will come and perform for him. Beyonce, Wonder, Streisand – who?


Every time I sit in the Starbucks here in Hollywood, Florida I think of Roman. The guy I met there a few days ago. We shared a table and some good conversation then went our ways. He is a traveller so miles away by now. I still wonder though.


K  copyright 2016


America hasn’t woken up to a President Trump. The cars are moving, the shops are open and the drills are drilling as they build new luxury apartments here in sunny Hollywood, Florida. But the world hasn’t woken up to a Trump presidency, the new Trump political dynasty and that this man and HIS people will run the country for the next eight years. This is how one part of the American political cycle works. Every eight years the governing party changes. Except it seems for the Senate and The House. It is an exciting and new time. What if he really cuts the military budget?  Britain could learn from that – Trident missiles? I see an EU official already saying we will not be able to rely on the American military so Europe needs its own force.  What if America becomes more focused on its own people and their problems? The economy was a big factor for many. This could mean more jobs where they are. The never ending silence to their voices could be over too. Very similar to Brexit and Britain. Germany, France and Spain must take note.

A couple of Trump supporters I spoke with want him because he isn’t a slick politician and can really change things. The fact that the Republican Party isn’t behind him. And that big experts, the media, The Democrats are All against him is more proof that he is independent. He has highlighted the faults in the system. As a businessman he does what the system allows him to. He can change that as a President. He is no ones puppet. Self funded too. This is what they need. They are desperate for change this time.

I am not clear why a businessman would change a system skewed in his favour and that of his dinner party friends too. To help ordinary America?

Trump didn’t invent racism. You can try to act as if he is the fire but it doesn’t wash. Because he is the spark. He just blurts out what too many people have been secretly and privately thinking. In their homes, bars, sports clubs, at bbq’s, work or to themselves. I don’t like blacks, great tits, gays shouldn’t be…. I say don’t pretend it wasn’t there. He pushed the door fully open. Since Brexit I am aware that some of those sweet smiles from some people were possibly just lies. I am clear where I stand with Trump.

 After eight years of Obama – has race relations in America improved?

Are you blaming Trump for that? The police have always shot unarmed black men. What ethnic  groups have always filled the prisons?

Now is a phenomenal chance to hold people to account. To get them to explain and prove. A Brexit supporter gave me the tasty strap line of “it’s not about race, it’s about space”. So good. So crap. I know what its about. I can explain it and reason it. Now you have to engage with me on an intellectual level. If you can’t, then that proves I am on the right track. I am clear where I stand with Trump. I am people power!!

 If Trump brings some business concepts to government great. That’s the reason British government is supposedly awash with special advisors. So they bring new, dynamic and innovative ways to the machinery of it all. What if the President says I want it done NOW? Solve the problem in weeks not months or years. And do it on budget etc? Imagine then possibility of and the speed of change.

What could you change with that mindset?

It could never be possible for a man like Trump to become Prime Minister in the U.K. with the same speed and be far enough removed from the experience of the system to offer change. For some people it’s been hard having an eloquent black man tell them what to do. A woman next would be too much.

I see and hear hysteria, fear and hypocrisy. I hear people, supposedly liberal and open minded labelling Trump people in negatives. The same thing they lambasted Trump for.There is a shortage of rational and realistic assessments of what has happened. And that is because it has just happened. Democracy is in trouble. Not because the system alongside capitalism is failing. But because both sides in any vote are turning out to be bad losers. It is what it is – get on with it. What can I do to move myself and the real world I am part of forward. 

1- The U.S. electoral cycle has to be shortened. Almost two years and nearly two billion dollars later you have an exhausted country.

2- The system (the U.K. too) needs amending. Two or three States shouldn’t decide outcomes.

3- I am clear who I am and where I am going etc. (except those days I get lost – but I always make it back home). That means I can keep developing my plans. Keep moving forward. I am asking – “what are the opportunities here”?

4- GRATITUDE and PERSPECTIVE. I am working on keeping those in mind.

5- Yes all of this will affect the future. And our children. But us and older people too. I am clear what I want for the children and young people in my life. And it is now! I can’t control the future. I can offer them gratitude, perspective and authenticity NOW. So that they can be confident, loved, compassionate, empathetic and less angry human beings.

I am in control of me here and now. I love it!!!!




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